My tired arms rested limply on the driftwood as I floated aimlessly in the ocean. How long was I drifting? Hours? Days? 90 minutes? I can’t tell you. My concentration isn’t what it used to be.
How did I end up there? Well, it all started after my transfer to Blackburn. Daniel Levy and Juande Ramos offered to take me out for a celebratory meal, they seemed so happy that I’d secured my transfer, which was very thoughtful of them. We took one of those cruises along the Thames where you get dinner and a bottle of wine chucked in. I haven’t eaten so well for years. I’d kind of lost my appetite a couple of years ago when Martin Jol and Tom Huddlestone started stealing my pies at meal times.
After the meal we went out on the deck to smoke cigars. Mr Levy passed me his Zippo and, butter fingers that I am, I dropped it. Next thing I know the ship is ablaze! Juande and Daniel leapt off the boat quick sharp. I haven’t seen two such fantastic dives since Cristiano Ronaldo and Emmanuel Eboue made eye-contact and simultaneously dropped to floor like they’d been shot.
My reactions were not so good. They seem to have deteriorated somewhat. I was trapped on the boat. The fire must have reached the petrol tanks because suddenly there was a huge explosion and I was thrown into the water. I lost consciousness and when I came round I was under water. I scrambled for the surface and clung to a piece of the debris of the boat. Well I say clung, it was kind of slippery and I had to make a couple of attempts but I got hold of it eventually when it got caught up in a bit of old fishing net. If there’s one thing I’m good at it’s pulling things out of the net.
So there I was drifting, alone, cold and tired. Surrounded by water but none of it fit to drink…but then I saw land. A desert island! I was safe. Swim Paul, swim, I urged myself on. A beach. At last. I crawled up out of the water and collapsed. Not noticing the footprints leading up into the jungle, nor did I see the pair of eyes watching me in the dark.
I awoke a little later exhausted and drained. The tide had come in since I’d passed out and the water lapped around my feet. Pulling myself up I noticed footprints in the dry sand above my head. I was not alone! I followed the tracks towards the jungle. But before I reached the trees a wildman jumped out of the bushes.
I screamed girlishly and ran. My ordeal had made me lose all my confidence. Which was odd, usually I’m so confident. The strange man gave chase and, although he was older, he was quicker than me and chased me down in no time. I span to face him and aimed a kick at him. I missed, getting nothing but air. Which is fairly standard for one of my kicks. Although I swear just as I swung my leg the man bobbled in front of me.
“Are you OK?” Asked the man in a strange, guttural voice. “Are you lost?”
“I am.” I replied. “Who are you? What day is it?”
“My name is Hamann and it’s Friday.”
“Hamann Friday.” I repeated. He laughed. So I decided that would be his nickname. Hamann Friday would be my native guide on this God forsaken isle.
“Where am I?” I asked
“Isle of Dogs.”
What a strange name for an island. I would have to careful of the wild dogs it was clearly named after. I started to pick up stones from the water’s edge. I only dropped one or two of them. Maybe my old skill was coming back.
“Give me a hand Hamann Friday. Help me spell S.O.S in stones so that planes can see it.”
“You want a plane?” He said “Then follow me. I’m going to London City Airport to get one back to Manchester.”
What a crazy fellow Hamann Friday is. I carried on making the stone message and he shook his head sadly and walked off. Planes passed overhead but none seemed to notice my S.O.S. Perhaps I spelt it wrong.
I hunted for somewhere to sleep and found a cardboard box. As I settled into it for the night a strange bedraggled man ran up. He shouted angrily that I was in his home. I had to leave, which upset me, I used to be so commanding in the box. I tried to stand up to him but he started gibbering, as if he was speaking in tongues. Then he pulled a cross out of his pocket and waved it at me.
That was when I fled. I just can’t deal with crosses anymore. So there I was alone on a desert island, cold and barefooted. I tried to put my head in my hands but it slipped through.
“Hamann Friday!” I yelled. “Why have you forsaken me?!”
I sank to my knees. I fell on something soft. It was a pair of boots. They said ‘property of Brad’ on them. I put them on but I couldn’t fill his boots. Still they’d be alright for now. Just until someone saves me.
Written by Gareth Endean.
This article is a submission for the Soccerlens 2008 Writing Competition; to participate, please read the details here. The competition is sponsored by Subside Sports (premier online store for football shirts) and Icons (official signed football jerseys).